Cinnamon: The Best Power House of Flavor & Health Benefits

We all know the warming effect cinnamon has to our taste buds and as well as the aromatic impact, as your mouth starts to water as soon as you catch a whiff of the delicious scent.  What’s even better, are the tremendous amount of health benefits!

Cinnamon Spiced Cake
Cinnamon Spiced Cake

Yes, it tastes amazing and it’s great for you.  Love it when that happens!

Cinnamon had been used for centuries and dates back to ancient Egypt. It was considered a gift fit for kings as it was rare and therefore very valuable.  It was even used as a natural food preservative during medieval days. Fortunately, for us, it’s easily accessible these days.

There are two main types and it’s important to note, not all cinnamon is created equal. Click To Tweet

Ceylon, is known as the “true” cinnamon. Cassia is more common and probably the one you’ll find most often in your grocery store. Ceylon is lower in in coumarin then Cassia which can be harmful in high doses. In addition, Ceylon has been found to contain more of the health benefits listed below.

Read labels carefully, Ceylon is the one you want.

 

Most of the health benefits come from cinnamaldehyde and comes from the oily part of the bark that carries the distinctive smell and flavor.  The benefits of which, may surprise you.

  • One of the most powercinnamon-1070153_1920ful antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits and improves circulation
  • Reduces risk of heart disease by reducing LDL and Triglyceries and increasing HDL, while at the same time lowering blood pressure
  • Improves Insulin sensitivity, the hormone that regulates metabolism and energy use. Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Has an anti-diabetic effect by decreasing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after you’ve eaten
  • Has to be shown to have numerous benefits in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer by preventing the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, a key factor in Alzheimer’s disease
  • It’s been proven to improve cognitive function even with use of a scented candle.
  • Fights bacterial and fungal infections with oil being very effective in treating respiratory infections caused by fungi, but also inhibits the growth of bacteria like Listeria and Salmonella
  • Useful in combatting congestion by clearing up mucus and improving circulation and not just good for viruses like the common cold. It’s been effective in studies on HIV by preventing the virus from entering the cells
  • The antimicrobial effects can even prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath (a great addition, if you make your own toothpaste or look for it when shopping for a natural brand)

Whew! I did say it was a power house of taste and health benefits and this isn’t even an all-inclusive list. In short, it can combat free radicals with its anti-inflammatory benefits, reduce the risk of heart disease, stabilize your total cholesterol level, improve Insulin sensitivity, boost brain function and fight bacterial and fungal infections.

Experts do warn of incorporating too much cinnamon into your diet if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a heavy menstrual cycle. As always, if any of this applies or you’re looking to add it as part of a healing protocol, please consult your health care professional.  The recommended dosage according to the U.S. Department of Health is up to 6 grams daily but should not be used for more than 5 days a week.  Add cinnamon into your diet slowly. Even half a teaspoon a day has a positive effect.

Here is one great way to enjoy cinnamon’s power house of flavor along with it’s healthy benefits. Try our Mini Cinnamon Spiced Cake.

 

 

Resources:

http://authoritynutrition.com

http://www.organicauthority.com

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/substance/cinnamaldehyde

How to Easily Stop Mosquitoes Driving You Insane

How to Easily Stop Mosquitoes Driving You Insane

I want a natural solution to stop mosquitoes from mauling my family

Mosquito season is still rampant here and my poor husband and kids are constantly battling the biting irritant. Especially when one finds its way into your bedroom and goes on a feeding frenzy while you sleep. That’s a nightmare when you wake up! We’ll continue to need protection all the way through November and sometimes beyond so the family will need to have a ready supply of repellent to ward off this tiny menace.

Are mosquitoes mauling your family? Click To Tweet

Why don’t I get bitten?

Before we get into solutions, have you ever wondered why some people seemed to get bitten more than others? I can sit outside and not even get touched and my family ends up with 20-30 bites. There is research that indicates blood type does play a role. Apparently type O is also universal for Open season lunch for mosquitoes. I have seen comments from people who are Type O and don’t get bitten. As with most things, it may be a combination of things. Body temperature and CO2 may play a role. schnakenstiche-59775_1280Other people have found if the body is in balance with vitamin B1 and C, they are less likely to be bitten so boosting your B1 and C intake may be a good preventive measure.

Why do your bites swell up and mine don’t?

Of course the other aggravation is the variance in how people are effected by the bite itself. Some people swell much more the others. Those with sensitive skin seemed to be at a higher risk. One preventive measure to minimize the impact of the bite is to use a natural antihistamine to boost the system in preparation of the buggy season.  Similar to taking bee pollen or local seasonal honey to ward off allergy attacks. However, how do you know when you have the right balance? Histamine creation also links back to gut flora. Balanced gut health could improve our body’s ability to maintain homeostasis even in the middle of getting mauled by mosquitoes. So what’s a body to do?

It all comes down to balance.
pink-salt-719287_1280

All indicators point to eating a balanced diet of whole foods and looking after your gut. Coincidence? I think not.  There is a protocol that has proven helpful when dealing with allergic reactions called the “water protocol”. When your bug bite swells it’s a result of an allergic reaction, increased inflammation. According to the protocol, if you place some Himalayan salt on the tip of your tongue for a few minutes and then rinse off, it should help to bring the body in balance. It’s also said to work with sinus congestion and watery eyes and skin irritation from other seasonal allergies.

What about commercial repellents?

DEET has undergone a lot of scrutiny around the adverse effects of this chemical in commercial bug repellents along with other toxic chemicals. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has gone on record advising, when used properly, the effects of DEET can be minimized and outweigh the potential of disease causing bites. Sorry, I don’t buy it. The “precautions” include: not spraying too close; use a minimal amount; make sure you bathe when you get home so it does remain on your skin too long; spray in an open area to avoid inhaling the contents. Seems to me anything which is suggesting limiting the amount of contact, should just be avoided. Especially when healthier nontoxic alternatives available.

How to protect your family?

For my family’s protection, I’ve done some research and discovered a combination that works. You can use any combination of essential oils with either an oil or water based blend. Experiment until you find one that works for you. Every body chemistry is different and people have their own fragrance preference. While lemon options do deter insects they may also invite a few bees so I tend to stay away from it in our repellent. Lemon does work great, along with peppermint to help the itch if you do happen to get bitten. A great tip if you’re out and have forgotten the spray and the little villains are on the attack, grab the lemon wedge in your water and rub it on your bites. It’ll provide quick relief.


basil-74219_640peppermint-352337_1280lavender-834258_1280

 What is my favorite blend?

I like the oil blend as I like the way it feels on the skin. If you’d like to opt for water based, swap out the 2 tablespoons of oil for witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or a blend of both in an 8 ounce container. Since water and oil do not mix, the witch hazel or alcohol will help as a binder. Alcohol is also a natural preservative.  Add enough water to bring the mixture to 8 ounces.

My easy formula:

  • 30 drops of basil oil
  • 40 drops of lavender oil
  • 30 drops of peppermint oil
  • 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil ( can also use coconut, olive, almond, jojoba or a combination of oils)

Mix together and store in a dark , preferably glass bottle. Store in a cool, dark place. You can either use a spray nozzle or simple rub into your skin like a lotion.

Other essential oils that work well to stop mosquitoes:

  • citronella
  • eucalyptus
  • tea tree
  • cypress
  • rose geranium
  • bergamot
  • lemon
  • Thyme
  • Lemongrass
  • Rosemary
  • cedarwood

Precautions for pregnant or nursing women and children under 2 years of age.

  • If you are pregnant or nursing, as with any essential oil, you should consult your healthy care provider before using them.
  • When using essential or any type of lotion on children, extreme caustion should be exercised. Especially for those under the age of 2. Always consult your health care professional.
  • It is recommended to always perform a patch test to check for an allergic reaction before using an essential oil for the first time.
  • Be sure to label homemade products with the ingredients and include the “creation” date.

Living Life with Sjogrens Syndrome

Life is hard with Sjogrens Syndrome.

When you’re dealing with a disease like Sjogrens Syndrome  that is constantly changing, traveling and effecting various parts of your mind and body at different times, waiting is the hardest part of living. The realization that Sjogrens Syndrome  is for life. Never knowing when the goods days will go bad. Never knowing what part of the mind or body will be next. It’s like living in a war zone in constant anticipation of the next explosion, never knowing when it’s going to strike. On the edge of your seat, on the edge of life, that is what Sjogrens Syndrome is.

We are what we create.

As I write this, I have tears welling in my eyes. The reality is hard and there are days where I fight for more courage. I will not lose hope. I will not give up. I have made great choices with my health which are fuelling my fight against Sjogrens Syndrome . I am not writing this for sympathy. It’s OK to cry. We all should allow ourselves to free our emotions and crying, like writing, can be very cathartic. I am writing this so you know, I understand. You’re not alone. We are in this fight together and you can live a wonderful life with Sjogrens Syndrome.

Hope will not breed hopelessness.

For those who do not know, I have an autoimmune disease known as Sjogrens Syndrome. There is no cure, it’s progressive and pervasive. You can go through long periods of remission and then without warning, a new or old symptom smacks you in the face, or mind or other body part. It can mimic thyroid issues, lupus, Fibromyalgia or Celiac but, is also often diagnosed along with those other autoimmune diseases. Sjogrens Syndrome   effects every person differently.  It can come with any combination of dehydration, chronic fatigue, dry eye, dry mouth, dry skin or neuropathy. The biggest challenge for me has been as soon as I  think I’ve figured it out, it changes. Leaving you feeling defeated with the frustration of having to start all over again. As an outsider, you can’t see it.  We all look “fine”. Even now, it’s hard to explain. I have never been tested for anything else because, frankly, for me, it wouldn’t matter. How I approach treatment would be the same.

 I have been searching for clues to understand why Sjogrens Syndrome happened to me…

I’ve been searching and learning about Sjogrens Syndrome  for over four years. I reached a point in my life where I was no longer willing to give in to the pain and the fatigue. This will not be my fate. I do not have to feel this way. I abandoned the excuses of age and the “disease” and searched for the truth. A truth I’ll share with you as I continue my journey learning more at every turn.  I won’t always have all the scientific mumbo jumbo or statics. My mind looks at relationships and correlations. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I can only share what I found, the effect it’s had on me and my solutions.  Do the research and when you start to look back at your child hood, the pieces will start to come together.

 Gluten and sugar are evil.

Dairy can have it’s own issues, but at the root of what I’ve found is gluten and sugar.  Hydrogenated oils and other GMO products add fuel to fire but that’s not where I found it started. Leaky gut is one of the prevalent conditions plaguing people today. When I go back to my child hood, I have always had stomach issues. I was told I had a “spastic” stomach and it was basically ignored.  I still have no idea what that really is. I also craved carbs / sugar.  Fatigue set in during my late teens. I was active in sports, worked part time and was going to school. In college I worked full time and went to school full time. Of course I was tired. My blood work wasn’t always great but, I looked “fine”.

 Our bodies have the ability to heal itself.

Yes, we are extraordinary works of art. They key is allow our body to do its job. I was sabotaging it. Grains were not something the human body relied on as food source.  Regardless of what you believe about the “primal” food print, gluten itself is not the same as it was decades ago. As a result of environment factors, depleting nutrients in the soil and “modifications” made to ensure its survival, the molecular structure of gluten has changed significantly from its ancestral roots.  It is the expression of the genes in wheat and its interaction with human genomes which wreaks havoc on our body. No wonder our body is confused and starts to attack itself. It was never intended to digest this type of food.

liver detox for health

The body is always working to keep us in homeostasis.

To keep things in balance. What we’re feeling is our body trying to pull us back in line. Sugar puts our body in a frenzy in much the same way. What have we been told? Fat free is the way to be. So we ingest tons of artificial sweeteners under the guise of “no calories”. Our body treats it the same and still produces the same amount of glucose. How do you feel after riding roller coasters all day? A bit dizzy? Not so stable? Bingo, your body is no different. Not to mention, sugar has been proven to be just as addictive at cocaine. Keep in mind, natural sugar is still sugar and you really shouldn’t have more than a tablespoon of natural sugar a day. Carbohydrates, by the way, plays into that sugar addiction and there is evidence of highly addictive qualities of wheat as well.

We need to allow our bodies to heal.

Stop sabotaging habits and fuel ourselves with real whole foods in the way nature intended. We need to help our body bring us back into homeostasis. How do we do that? Here’s what I’ve discovered…so far.  Yes, I use Paleo as a framework for food preparation. You would think, that was a result of my research, but to be honest, I started eating “primal’ before I knew what Paleo was. I learned to listen to my body and with the help of muscle testing to confirm my suspicions, eliminated foods causing chaos in my body. Trust me, I didn’t’ want to hear I needed to say goodbye to French fries, corn, chilies or tomatoes (that’s a short list)  My favorite food was Thai,  Indian and Mexican.

Intermittent fasting is where I started.

If you’ve read our article on the five two diet, you’ll know the reason we chose that lifestyle three years ago was about longevity and not weight loss. Yes, you will lose weight. It’s a nice side effect. The 5:2 diet allows your body the time to repair damaged cells by lowering IGF-1 levels (insulin like growth factor 1). We have high levels at birth and during our growth period as part of building new cells through splitting and duplication. When we run out of food or bodies switch from building new cells, by lowering IGF-1, to repairing existing ones. For example, we all have a certain amount of cancer cells that exist in our body. Whether they get ‘turned on’ or not is dependent on multiple factors but that’s for another time. What’s important here, is to limit the duplication of the cells and encourage their repair. Remember, this is about giving your body what it needs to do its job.

There is an alternative to anything.

If there’s a will there’s a way. I am not a cook nor like to spend time in the kitchen cooking or cleaning. The truth, living without, for so many years, prevented me from changing. I had all the excuses. I don’t have time, it’s too expensive, it won’t taste good. I’m “mostly” gluten and dairy free. Well folks, your body doesn’t’ acknowledge “mostly”. Sjogrens Syndrome does not accept half measures.   If the “evil” is there, it knows and treats it no different than if you ate the entire pizza or chocolate cake. The truth, I was forced to find alternatives when I had to eliminate dairy from my daughters diet. The truth, there are some really bad dairy free alternatives out there. While it served a purpose, the choices didn’t facilitate healing. The truth, I chose to say no to the pain. I chose to say no to a future of medications, doctors’ visits and debilitating and/or terminal illness.

 I am living with Sjogrens Syndrome  and it’s hard.

I will not give up the fight. I take advantage of every training, white paper and article I can find to learn more every day. Food really is nature’s medicine. We need to give our body a fighting chance to do its job. The message in the video “We are all ONE“,   is intended to be about mother nature. For me it reflected what we do to ourselves. We need to stop pushing the limits and take responsibility to preserve what we have and allow our body to live in harmony with itself.  I am not perfect. I have and continue to make progress. I chose this profession, because I want to help others improve the quality of their life. I want and will share what I’ve learned about Sjogrens Syndrome  with you. I will show you how to make better choices for your life.  There is a better way. I am living it!

 

I want and will share what I’ve learned about Sjogrens Syndrome with you. Click To Tweet

In closing…

Thank you for allowing me the time to share my thoughts. Life with Sjogrens Syndrome is hard. Many will not read to this point, for those who do, thank you. I have included a few resources if you like that sort of thing. It is, by all means, not an exhaustive list. Having a strong and positive support system is vital to our health. I am fortunate to have the support of my husband and children. If you don’t, I invite you to join our community of support. The door will always be open, you are not alone with Sjogrens Syndrome.

Wishing you good health for life,

Margie

Sources:

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/page/dark-side-wheat-new-perspectives-celiac-disease-wheat-intolerance-sayer-ji

http://www.einkorn.com/einkorn-nutritional-facts/

http://authoritynutrition.com/6-shocking-reasons-why-gluten-is-bad/

http://instituteofhealthsciences.com/the-intermittent-fasting-diet-52-diet-by-caroline-noonan/

https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/topic/help-with-inflammation/

10 Healthy Alternatives for Natural Weight Loss

swap store produce for farmers markets

10 Healthy Alternatives for Natural Weight Loss

Here are my top 10 healthy alternatives to common foods.Whether you’re looking to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle Keep in mind, you don’t have to replace everything all at once. You can even create a swap out list along side your grocery list and work the replacements into your meals over time.

Healthy Alternatives are not a compromise, they are a path to effortless weight loss


not a healthy alternatives datepaste - healthy alternatives

Replace sugar with Stevia raw honey or date paste

 

Stevia is all natural and has zero calories, carbs or sugar. Raw Honey has other health benefits, which include anti-microbial, heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory effects. It does break down in your body the same as sugar so while it has nutritional benefits, treat it as sugar. Date paste is an easy sugar alternative loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium and fiber.

 


soda - replace for healthier eating as healthy alternatives soda watersoda - healthy alternatives Skip the soda and drink sparking water or Kombucha

There is nothing “good’ about soda pop and a healthy alternative is a vital change. Sparkling water will provide the fizz you may need without all the chemicals and sugars. Kombucha is a fermented beverage loaded with probiotics which are good for digestion and intestinal health.

 

 


milk as healthy alternatives milk almonds healthy alternatives Replace milk with almond milk

Unless you’re drinking Kelfir or milk from grass fed cows, skip the milk, period. Of course there is plenty of research around whether we should even be drinking it at all (not Paleo is only one), but that’s for another time.  Almond or other nut milks contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium. zinc,B-6, folate, riboflavin and others.

 


mustard healthy alternatives mustard for mayo as healthy alternatives Use mustard instead of mayo

If you cant live without the mayo, at least try veganaise, they are less likely to contain GMO related fats and other chemicals. Read the labels! Outside of the caloric benefit of mustard over mayo, it’s healthy. It contains antioxidants along with turmeric (anti-inflammatory). Mustard seed has also been classified as a super food due to it’s nutrient dense anti cancer fighting benefits.

 


salad dressing store as healthy alternatives salad dressing as healthy alternatives Replace store bought salad dressing for homemade vinaigrette

Store bought dressings are laden with GMO fats and other chemicals that have zero benefits to our health. With homemade dressings you have control over the ingredients. Use good fats, like olive oil, almond oil or grapeseed oil.  You can even use just a good extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

 


market store as healthy alternatives market farmer as healthy alternatives Shop local farmer’s market for fresh in season produce instead of large grocery store chains

In season produce has more nutrients due to a shorter “shelf” life. When in season produce isn’t available, the next best option is frozen. It goes from farm to freezer keeping its nutrients.

 

Seasonal eating supports local farmers markets and keeps you fit for life Click To Tweet

 


salt-shaker-as healthy alternatives salt-pink as healthy alternatives Replace your table salt with Himalayan salt

The processing of table salt has removed all of it’s minerals. Himalayan rock salt contains over 80 minerals.  Some of the benefits include balancing PH, increasing hydration, balance electrolytes, lower blood pressure and improve circulation.

 


peanutbutter as healthy alternatives peanutbutter almond as healthy alternatives Replace processed peanut butter with almond butter

Peanuts are actually legumes and are not Paleo. That could be enough but I’ll continue.  Peanuts contain high levels of Omega 6 which can lead to inflammation. They contain aflatoxin with is actually a natural mold that is the source of people’s peanut allergies. These aflatoxins are also a potent carcinogen so replacing peanut butter with alternative nut butter will help cut down on your toxic load exposure from the environment.  Almond butter is a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant along with trace minerals and is more nutritionally dense then peanut butter.

Healthy alternatives are not a compromise, they're a new experience.... Click To Tweet

oil vegetable as healthy alternatives?oil coconut as healthy alternatives Swap your vegetable oil for coconut oil

There has been enough press around the hazards of GMO foods/oils.  Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides that metabolize differently and has proven to increase energy, reduce candida (yeast), improve brain health, reduce hunger  help with may brain disorders. There are about 100 more benefits of using coconut oil, but bottom line, it’s definitely earns it’s role as a superfood.

 


croutons as healthy alternatives croutons sliced almonds as healthy alternatives Use almonds instead of croutons on salads

Croutons are high in sodium ,carbohydrates and do not offer much nutritional value.  Almonds are loaded with vitamin E, fiber, protein, healthy fats, manganese, magnesium, cooper, B12, phosphorus and loaded with antioxidants. It can also help with weight loss. Almonds contain many nutrients that are hard for the body to breakdown. Therefore, 10-15% of the calories can’t be absorbed.

 

 

Check out more delicious and healthy recipes here